Sister Carol Ann Petersen Honored

 For the third time in recent months, Sister Carol Ann Petersen and the Keeler Women's Center have been recognized for their efforts on behalf of the women of the Kansas City area. At the "Safe Homes, Safe Streets" benefit in Topeka on February 12, the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence selected Sister Carol Ann to receive their Community-Based Ally of the Year Award. She was nominated for Keeler's work as a community partner with the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) and for her own personal commitment. 

Julie Donelon, CEO and president of MOCSA, noted that "Sister Petersen has been an integral part of the strong partnership between MOCSA and Keeler Women’s Center since 2004 to coordinate services for victims of sexual violence. Specifically, MOCSA has provided a weekly survivor’s group, a trauma workshop, and crisis counseling. Currently, MOCSA provides groups and education at Keeler Women's Center for Spanish-speaking women who are survivors of sexual assault. These services would not be in existence had it not been for the effort and dedication of Sister Petersen. She has also coordinated community-based prevention efforts for sexual violence with MOCSA." 

Sister Carol Ann is pleased to have the work of her center recognized once again. In October of 2012, The Friends of Yates Award was received for outstanding service and support to victims of domestic violence and, in November, she accepted the Community Services Award from Jewish Vocational Services for assistance in helping their agency "meet the ever-changing needs of the community."

Among the many victim-centered and empowerment-based services provided at Keeler Women’s Center are education and support for addictions and domestic violence, counseling for survivors of abuse and other needs, workshops on parenting and job seeking, and assistance for women who need help finding community resources. An average of 300 women and 20 to 25 men are served per month. 

The Keeler Women's Center, located in the Catholic Charities building at 2220 Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, is an outreach ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. The prioress, Sister Anne Shepard, praised the center saying, "Sister Carol Ann, the other Benedictine sisters on her staff, and the volunteers at Keeler Center are living the spirit of Sister Jerome Keeler, founder of Donnelly College, by continuing to find ways to serve the women of the greater Kansas City area. All of the sisters in our community are grateful to her and her staff for the gospel witness of love that is so evident in their care for those they serve."    

In response to the award, Sister Carol Ann stated, "It is a great honor to be recognized by MOCSA. They are held in high regard in Kansas City and nationally for their work with both men and women survivors of sexual assault. My work with them goes back many years to when I was an elementary school principal and relied on them to provide educational programs for teachers and children. It is a privilege to collaborate with them to better serve the women who come to Keeler."

Keeler and MOCSA staffs
Sister Carol Ann (center, in pink) with the Keeler and MOCSA staffs